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February 15, 2014

Dear Friends:

PLEASE read the email below, which I just received, sent by the CRS-related office of CATHOLICS CONFRONT GLOBAL POVERTY.I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am glad President Obama signed it. On the other hand< Catholic bishops vigorously protested against the “devastating cuts” the President, under pressure, was forced to accept to pass the Bill. This pressure was applied by people whose conversion must be at the center of our prayers. These are politicians (Tea Party, and others best left unmentioned for now) whose hearts “have been robbed of the capacity to weep for the suffering and the poor” (Pope Francis, First Homily at Lampedusa).. Pope Francis further tell us: “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? . . . Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded . . . It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. . . . The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers” (Apostolic Exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel,” 53).

Pope Francis is a Jesuit, and since the XVII century, Jesuits doctors and mystics have been the privileged teachers and preachers of the spirituality of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In that Heart, pierced by our arrogance, our selfishness, our inability to weep for the poor and the excluded, we are all called to find a home, and, in the words of John Paul II (“Sollicitudo Rei Socialis,” 42), preferentially, those poor, those despised by our bloated societies of consumerism, of unbridled wealth, where “the thirst for power and possessions knows no limits” (Pope Francis, “The Joy of the Gospel,” 56).

We are created to thirst for God, our Abba, dearest Father, whose human face shines in the Crucified and Risen Jesus, given to us by the Spirit, and in Him and through Him, we are called to thirst for those whom society banishes outside, ridicules and neglects, for the poor and the excluded. Let us pray that the plea of the American bishops, committed to restore those “devastating cuts” demanded by those politicians whose hearts are shut to the poor and the marginalized, who can no longer weep, will be heard. Let us pray that the Lord’s promise, given to Israel through Ezekiel (“I will take away their hearts of stone, and give them hearts of flesh” [Ez 36: 25-27] ), will be fulfilled and those hearts of stone who have condemned a number of the hungry and poor to further pain, will be changed into hearts of flesh. For, let us not forget, Jesus’ own unconditional, boundless and tender love, is also our judgment. When we reject the invitation to tenderness, and blunt our hearts into an incapacity to weep, it is we, not God, who pass final judgment on ourselves. God does not send anyone to hell, We do that to ourselves. The rejection of the call to mercy and tenderness is our judgment. Let us never tire of reading Mtt 25: 31-46: “For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat . . .” but to those on the left: “For I was hungry, and you did not give me to eat . . .
Oremus pro invicem
Sixto- the email on the Farm Bill signing sent to me by Catholics Confront Global Poverty follows:

Dear Sixto,

We’re back from Washington, DC and the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering and happy to report that more than 400 Congressional offices were visited during our lobby day on Capitol Hill! The experience energized us and renewed our spirits to confront global poverty despite harrowing weather and more importantly these challenging times. We asked Congress to give peace a chance by supporting negotiations with Iran and between Israelis and Palestinians, and to invest in peace by providing robust funding for poverty-focused development and humanitarian assistance.

A major breakthrough after years of tireless efforts by the Church and advocates around the country, President Obama finally signed Farm Bill legislation last week. The bill was far from perfect, and the Church spoke out strongly against devastating cuts to domestic anti-hunger programs (SNAP). We stand with the Church to ensure that these cuts be restored in the near future.

Despite some of the problems with the new Farm Bill, there were some very important and positive changes made to international food aid programs. They will become more efficient by reaching up to 800,000 more people who will be able to access nutritious, life-saving food with no funding increases. The bill also allows more use of locally purchased food to help communities during crises such as drought or natural disasters. This is major progress because such food purchases can stimulate local markets and promote development.

Thank you for your ongoing support and action on behalf of our brothers and sisters who are poor and marginalized.

Yours in Christ,
Your Catholics Confront Global Poverty team

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Sixto AT THE SUNSET OF OUR LIVES, WE WILL BE JUDGED BY LOVE St. John of the Cross “Sayings of Light and Love,” 59 WE WILL NEVER LOVE ENOUGH Bl. Charles de Foucauld Letter to Marie de Bondy, December 1, 1916, The day of his Martyrdom BLOG:

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